It’s been more than three years since The Public Market first opened its doors in Downtown Wheeling. Since then, the market has been bridging the gap between community and local, healthy and natural foods. This one-stop shop is a grassroots initiative meant to impact all parts of the community under Wheeling’s Grow Ohio Valley (GrowOV).
If you aren’t already familiar with the Public Market, here’s the scoop – located at 1401 Main St. inside of the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center is an oasis filled with fresh local meats, produce and dairy from over 40 vendors. The market also boasts all of your typical pantry staples and frozen goods. And let’s not forget the kitchen with made-to-order breakfast and lunch options, as well as grab-and-go items.
Public Market sets itself apart from your average food store. When you enter the corner building, you’re immediately greeted with friendly smiling faces that want to make your experience one that brings light to your day. Whatever reason brings you in, you’ll be sure to leave in a pleasant mood. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something you don’t see in store. You might be surprised to find it on the shelves sooner rather than later. Being a customer-driven business, the team at the Public Market aims to meet requests as best they can.
It’s that Friendly City service that makes the difference at the Public Market, and they recently added a new member to the team – Matt Porter, the Public Market’s General Manager! Matt explains that Public Market is more than just a place to get food, it’s a place that is making an impact on our community. A mission he is determined to continue. Matt says his “strong sense of community and purpose for helping others” comes from his time at Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Company. While new to the role of general manager, he is open to learning the ropes and excited for creating a place for his customers and employees to enjoy.
A health-conscious person, Matt knows sometimes “healthy” gets a bad rap. While Public Market identifies as a “health food store,” the food isn’t just healthy, but also delicious and he wants more people to know! The kitchen has become what some have called a hidden gem and he doesn’t think it should be hidden anymore.
From farm fresh foods and local handmade merchandise, Matt shared just a few reasons he thinks you should stop into Public Market!
With the holidays upon us, what better way than to share the love than celebrating with food or gifting items from your hometown? Make your dinner extra special by preordering your Big Wheeling Agrarian Center’s Christmas ham or share kindness with those in need with the gift of paying it forward. Also available at Public Market are The Blended Homestead’s handcrafted cutting boards made from all Ohio Valley wood, or Apartment Two Art’s hand-poured soy candles in scents like gingerbread, winter cranberry, and snickerdoodle. What a great way to warm up your home and hearts with holiday nostalgia.
Each Friday, head over to Public Market to enjoy live music from some of your local favorites while enjoying your lunch, shopping, or just to listen. Past artists have included Eric Wellman, Adrian Niles and D. David Stiles.
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A clear mission for Public Market is to help local farmers flourish while helping the community has access to healthy foods. The SNAP-Stretch program does just that. Customers with EBT receive a 50% discount on local groceries (with an exception on supplements) and grab-and-go items without it affecting the bottom line of the local vendor. It’s a full circle moment when the money spent at the market goes back into the community and the vendors who supply it.
Public Market Membership
Walk in and shop any day of the week, but the real benefits come from their annual membership. For less than a fourth of what you’d pay for an Amazon Prime subscription, you can become a Public Market Member. Some benefits include: 1% back on what you spend in-store, quarterly discounts, priority on events and classes, and the option to buy wholesale.
New Year. Same Market. Bigger Goals.
So, what can we expect from Public Market in 2023? Matt gave me an inside scoop on some of their newest goals – but not before making sure the staff was on board too. His excitement for the future and what the Public Market will bring was equally matched by his rapport with his staff.
One thing that was clear was the experience you get from Public Market is from the employees and their positive energy. And Matt wants it to stay that way. In addition to maintaining a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, here’s what else you might see at the market in the new year:
Local doesn’t mean antiquated. The new year will bring the opportunity for ordering online. While they aren’t sure what that looks like just yet, convenience will be at your fingertips. Matt says, “We [want] to provide local consumers access to a wide variety of products with the convenience of online shopping.”
Kitchen Menu Updates
The kitchen may be known for its mouth-watering Market Burger that combines local beef with gooey pimento cheese topped with a sweet onion jam, but look out for new daily specials that are just as creative and delicious! With unique specials, Matt expresses his belief that “they would come to learn what many have already discovered, which is the Public Market has some of the best breakfast and lunch items in the area.”
If burgers aren’t your style, have no fear! This lunch option will still leave you fulfilled. Be on the lookout for a salad bar with endless options of ready-made or make-your-own options that will showcase farmers, vendors and kitchen staff.
Beer & Wine
Love a certain West Virginia brewery, but can’t get your hands on your favorite craft beers? Expect the shelves to be stocked with West Virginia’s best beers and wines in the future. Matt’s vision is to “stock the best variety of beer and wine from regional suppliers.”
The Public Market continues to be a convenient Downtown hub for groceries, lunch, and community, and we look forward to how the market will continue to evolve under Matt’s leadership, along with the creativity of the rest of the Public Market team.
Have you been to the Public Market? Why is shopping locally important to you? Tell us in the comments section!
• Molly Sovich, a New Jersey native, found her way to the Ohio Valley when she attended West Liberty University. After graduating in 2014 with a B.A. in English, she stayed in Wheeling to work in the legal field. Currently, she works as legal assistant for a Wheeling firm handling bankruptcy and criminal cases. A self-proclaimed “hot mess” momma, she lives across the river in Shadyside, Ohio with her husband Anthony and two daughters, Stella and Spencer.